The New York Yankees‘ woes in the 2023 season extend beyond just the underwhelming performances of the players. True, the roster had moments of dimness, but the bulk of the issues stemmed from injuries and less-than-stellar roster decisions.
Leadership in the Clubhouse
In terms of leadership, the Yankees weren’t lacking. With Aaron Judge stepping up as captain, a role not assumed since the Derek Jeter era, the team had stalwarts to maintain positivity. Rumblings around Josh Donaldson and a public outburst from Aaron Hicks towards Aaron Boone did emerge, but the Yankees acted swiftly (in some cases). In response, prospects were ushered in to breathe new life into the squad.
First baseman Anthony Rizzo was quick to assume responsibility for the team’s downfalls but emphasized that clubhouse dynamics weren’t at fault. “You come in here and say, ‘Why wasn’t this clubhouse good enough?’” Rizzo said. “It’s not like the personalities didn’t mesh. We all got along. There was no divide in here. But over the course of the season, we just didn’t play well enough.
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Yankees’ Star Players Shouldering the Burden
Aaron Judge, despite missing significant portions of the season, didn’t shy away from accountability. The absence of support to bolster the lineup didn’t go unnoticed. Moves by General Manager Brian Cashman, particularly the trades for Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa, didn’t pan out. And with Giancarlo Stanton’s performance dwindling over two years, there’s a mounting case for managerial introspection.
“There’s a lot that went wrong,” Judge said. “What it comes down to is, we just didn’t come out here and do our job. With the type of lineup we have, the pitching rotation, we’ve just got to show up collectively. … Every year I’ve been in New York, I’ve been in the postseason. It’s going to be a little different this offseason. It’s just going to give us more time to work and get ready for the next one.”
Aaron Boone, while acknowledging the team’s shortcomings, pointed to injuries as a primary culprit behind their struggles. Notable incidents like Carlos Rodon’s absence, Stanton’s hamstring woes, and Judge’s mishap in Los Angeles contributed to a midseason tumble.
“There’s no doubt we have to, on some level, count on guys that were missing this year,’’ Boone said. “I don’t think it’s wrong to think we should count on those guys. It’s reasonable to think we’ll get those guys going again. Some guys need to make some changes and adjustments, but there’s also other parts of the roster and team that we have to be able to fortify better. We’ve got to make a lot of really good decisions.”
The crux of the issue might lie within the Yankees’ front-office decision-making processes. A series of ill-fated trades, underwhelming free-agent signings, and a broader strategy misalignment are all under the microscope. With a robust payroll and a dedicated front office, the Yankees are poised for a swift turnaround. However, for genuine transformation, precision in acquisitions is paramount.